Medu Vada and Rasam with Rasam Powder recipe

IMG_8324Tamil Nadu is the final destination of my Dakshin Rail. Shall we call it Chennai Express 😀
I often make Sambar but had never tried Rasam- the very thin, watery soup like wonder. I love Medu Vadas with it. In fact the vadas are favoured over Idlis in my house ( Umm …why is fried stuff more popular I wonder…)

My darling buddy Jaya Amit shared her Ma’s recipes and I got them both perfect in the first go. And no surprises there. Moms recipes always rock ❤
J also gave me the recipe to do fresh rasam masala at home. I made a small batch and  the aroma that filled my kitchen was moth watering. So here goes
For the Rasam Masala Powder
 (Makes about ¼  cup)
2 Tbsb coriander/dhaniya seeds
2 tsp tur/arhar dal
2 tsp chana/Bengal gram dal
8 whole red chillies
1 tsp peppercorns/whole kali mirch
1 tsp cumin/jeera

Dry roast all the above on a hot griddle one by one. Cool completely and grind. Store in an airtight box.

For the Rasam
(Serves 4)

A very small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
1 tsp desi ghee/clarified butter
1 small tomato chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp haldi/turmeric
1 Tbsp Rasam Masala
4-5  curry leaves
½ cup diluted tur dal (optional)
A handful of fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped fine

For the tadka/tempering
1 tsp desi ghee
½ tsp heeng/asafetida
1 tsp rai/mustard seeds
½ tsp jeera/turmeric
A pinch of pepper powder
4-5 curry leaves
IMG_8174Soak the tamarind in a cup of water for an hour. ( See the small ball. It is less than a tbsp )
Pulp and strain it. Add 2 ½ cups of water to the pulp.
Heat a tsp of ghee and add garlic, curry leaves and  tomatoes. Cook stirring for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes are mushy.
IMG_8228Add the tamarind water, salt and turmeric and bring to boil. The diluted tur dal can be added at this point (If using). Add more water if needed. The rasam has to be nice and watery.
IMG_8231Add the Rasam powder and just bring to a froth and take off the heat.
IMG_8236Tempering – Heat ghee and add heeng and rai. As soon as the rai starts to crackle, take off the heat. Add the curry leaves and pepper powder and spread over the rasam. Serve hot with medu vada!


Recipe for  Medu Vada ( Complete with tips and tricks!)
 ( Makes 12-15 medium sized vadas)
1 Cup Whole urad or good quality urad dal
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 green chillies, chopped fine and seeds removed
6-7 curry leaves, torn roughly
2 tsp grated ginger
Salt to taste
½ tsp heeng/asafetida
Soak a cup of urad dal for two hours ( Do not over soak else the batter gets watery)
IMG_8224Drain and grind till thick and fluffy, adding very little water slowly. Do not add too much water else the batter will be runny and the vadas won’t form well. Grind just before you are going to fry them for better results
IMG_8225.(TIP- If the batter does get runny, add a little semolina and make simple round Pakoda like vadas as it might be difficult to get the doughnut like shape)

Add all the other listed ingredients to the batter and mix well.
IMG_8226IMG_8232Pour oil generously in a  kadai/wok. Don’t be skimpy with oil, else the vadas will stick to the bottom of the wok.
Take a clean plastic sheet. Moisten the sheet and your hands. Take 2 tsbp batter and make the vadas.
IMG_8233Drop gently into the oil and fry on medium heat till golden brown. Serve hot!

Oil Free Dosa with an Italian Twist

A nice crisp dosa is something that can be enjoyed for any meal, with or without an accompaniment. I do make it with the traditional potato filling once in a while, but it is way more fun to play with the fillings and make it go places. Also, it is a sneaky way to get the boys to eat more vegetables, rather than potato, which gets eaten a lot anyways.

Last evening my dosa took a little trip to Italy, and was received very enthusiastically by my variety- seeking boys. This one’s good to have as a meal with some pesto sauce on the side or even on its own as a snack with a steaming cuppa.IMG_20140626_085329_wm unnamed (2)


For the dosa batter

This reliable, well tried and tested idli/dosa batter recipe is from my friend Sujatha Arun’s blog here.


Idli rice/ponni rice – 3 cups
Whole urad dal (washed)- 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds(methi daana)- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 ½ tsp (adjust as per taste)

  1. Soak the rice and urad separately for 5-7 hours. Add fenugreek seeds to the urad  dal when soaking.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for an hour and grind them separately in the mixer, using chilled water to grind
  3. Mix both the ground mixtures very well  and add salt (I use my hand to give it a nice whip and mix)
  4. Leave to ferment overnight or 7-8 hours till the mixture doubles up
  5. Before making add a little water to the batter (Do this very carefully, we don’t want the batter very thin)
  6. To make dosas-  Heat a non-stick pan/griddle, sprinkle water and wipe and then spread a ladle full of batter. The dosa will leave the pan on its own. It needs NO oil at all. Cook till browned.*
  7. Spread the desired filling and serve hot.

For the filling


Mixed vegetables, chopped fine- ½ a cup each of chopped green peppers(capsicum), carrots, beans
Onions, chopped fine- 2 medium
Garlic, minced-  1 Tbsp
Paneer/cottage cheese, crumbled- ¼ cup
Mozarella cheese,grated- ½ cup
Salt- to taste
Black pepper crushed- ½ tsp
Mixed Italian herbs (optional, I didn’t add any)- ½ tsp
Oil- 1 ½ tsp

Heat the oil and add the garlic and onion. Cook till onions become transparent. Add in the chopped mixed vegetables and cook till done. Season with salt, pepper and mixed herbs (if using).

Add the crumbled paneer and grated mozzarella. Spread over the dosa, fold the dosa and serve.


unnamed (3)


* Any filling can be used with the dosa
* The griddle has to be very hot and then cooled by sprinkling water and the batter has to be spread quickly for an even finish.